Describing knowledge encounters in healthcare: A mixed studies systematic review and development of a classification

Dominic Hurst*, Sharon Mickan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Implementation science seeks to promote the uptake of research and other evidence-based findings into practice, but for healthcare professionals, this is complex as practice draws on, in addition to scientific principles, rules of thumb and a store of practical wisdom acquired from a range of informational and experiential sources. The aims of this review were to identify sources of information and professional experiences encountered by healthcare workers and from this to build a classification system, for use in future observational studies, that describes influences on how healthcare professionals acquire and use information in their clinical practice. Methods: This was a mixed studies systematic review of observational studies. DATA SOURCES: OVID MEDLINE and Embase and Google Scholar were searched using terms around information, knowledge or evidence and sharing, searching and utilisation combined with terms relating to healthcare groups. ELIGIBILITY: Studies were eligible if one of the intentions was to identify information or experiential encounters by healthcare workers. DATA EXTRACTION: Data was extracted by one author after piloting with another. STUDY APPRAISAL: Studies were assessed using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool (MMAT). PRIMARY OUTCOME: The primary outcome extracted was the information source or professional experience encounter. ANALYSIS: Similar encounters were grouped together as single constructs. Our synthesis involved a mixed approach using the top-down logic of the Bliss Bibliographic Classification System (BC2) to generate classification categories and a bottom-up approach to develop descriptive codes (or "facets") for each category, from the data. The generic terms of BC2 were customised by an iterative process of thematic content analysis. Facets were developed by using available theory and keeping in mind the pragmatic end use of the classification. Results: Eighty studies were included from which 178 discreet knowledge encounters were extracted. Six classification categories were developed: what information or experience was encountered; how was the information or experience encountered; what was the mode of encounter; from whom did the information originate or with whom was the experience; how many participants were there; and where did the encounter take place. For each of these categories, relevant descriptive facets were identified. Conclusions: We have sought to identify and classify all knowledge encounters, and we have developed a faceted description of key categories which will support richer descriptions and interrogations of knowledge encounters in healthcare research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number35
JournalImplementation Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


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